Single mums on maternity leave - how do you survive??(14 Posts)
I hope you can give me some much needed advice. I'm currently on maternity leave with a 3 month old baby girl, a two year old and a nine year old. Sadly the children's father and I are not together.
I receive SMP, working tax credits and done maintenance from the ex. However I have just found out that when my SMP stops at 39wks into the mat leave, when my baby will be 8 months, the working tax credits will stop too 😩. I have applied for a nursery place for her but am unlikely to get it before she is 11-12 months old and have no one to help look after. She has also sustained a head injury at birth and I can't imagine leaving her in care so young, even if we lucked out with a nursery place.
On top of this, I'm having to send the two year old to nursery to hero his hard earned place for when I go back to work. This is cicered by the tax credits but when they cut them, I'm not sure what I am going to do.
I can't claim housing benefit as I live in a mortgaged property and frankly feel panicked by what's going to happen to us in a few months.
What do other mummies in this situation do? Not everyone has a partner to support them when they have a baby.
Not a single parent but I did have to go back to work when my baby was 16 weeks as we needed the money so my maternity leave was almost over at your stage.
Do you have a job to go back to? Will the wages from that (plus your maintenance etc) cover your bills, mortgage and childcare? Will you be selling the property (ie to give half to your ex etc?)?
Your 2 year old will get 15 hours free child care a week regardless if you work or not.
I struggled on mat leave. I took a mortgage break from the last 3 months.
Could you do that maybe?
I had to go back at 8 months with dd2. Just the way it is :-(
Thank you so much for your replies.
Luckily I won't have to sell as the flat is mine. I think in our area we can only get 15 hrs childcare from age 3. He turns 3 in January but sadly it will take effect from the following term in April.
I do have a job and it will certainly be better than being on statutory maternity pay. I never knew a mortgage break was an option, I will look into this, thanks for the tip.
Appuskidu, I hope you don't mind me asking who looked after your baby when it was so young? Many nurseries take children from 12 months.
Any other tips on surviving maternity leave as a lone parent please? TIA.
Sorry that you are in this situation but LOTS of day care / nursery take children from a lot younger than 12 months.
I went back when my youngest was 4 weeks old. I had a week off before the birth. No choice in it. I had 4 children to support and needed to keep my job and bring in a wage to support us. I get no child support from exh, it's just us so you have to do what you have to do. The rent doesn't pay itself.
Most nurseries in my area take children from 3 months old.
Have you considered a childminder OP or a nanny who could look after both children?
When I previously looked into having a nanny, they were hugely more expensive than the nursery so I had to drop that idea. Childminders in our area of N London are seriously full, but I will investigate again as things might have changed. At the moment she will have sibling priority for the nursery, at least. Places are like gold dust. She's on two waiting lists for now.
Alpacaandgo, did you have help with someone looking after the 4-week old when you went back to work? Us single mums are as tough as it gets.
You could claim Income Support / UC to tide you over.
Also you might be able to claim housing benefit for the interest on your mortgage. I was able to a few years ago. Worth a shot
Thanks again. I will have to look into this. I also found out that we may be able to get DLA for my son's ADHD. I have a lot of research to do. Thanks for the varied answers and tips - really appreciate it.
You're allowed to earn from self employment when on statutory maternity pay. Is there something you could do from home? Watch children yourself? Sell on eBay?
I'm self employed so on maternity allowance and you're not allowed to do any self employed work. It's nuts - does the system want me to have a business to return to so the state doesn't have to support my daughter and I? It would seem not!
I hear your anxiety!
I was in your position almost exactly.
I claimed income support, free school mwals; council tax reduction, healthy start vouchers along with the child tax credit element.
What is your annual income on your tax credit declaration? I managed to keep my 2 year olds nursery place for that term by just scraping in for the 2 year old funding. If you're in England, it's available in all areas.
Feel free to PM me as I've been where you are. Also have claimed DLA for my child with ADHD (awaiting formal diagnosis but paediatrician has stated it's his working diagnosis).
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